Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Genre and Form as Solution to Email Overload: InboxPro

My friend Chuck linked me to this article about the latest solution to email inbox overload.  It forces senders to think about their receivers when they send and structure their emails so they are simpler to respond to and triage.

Structure Communicates Genre
Structure/genre is important and only going to become more important as mediums of communication multiply.  In the past we had scarce mediums so we pressed lots of genres into a few forms and "tagged" them with certain stylistic cues (e.g. Dear Chuck, vs. To whom it may concern... personal letter vs. business etc.).  I've already begun "labeling" my email for people in how I format it by summarizing, adding headings on long emails, pulling out bulletted lists.

Medium Constrains Structure
Now we have a dozen new platforms or mediums for communication each with their own sub-genres that work well within them.  The ones we find useful over time will persist and the ones we don't won't but in the mean time, we would all do well to think about the receiver of our communication before we begin the message and think about what works best for them instead of what works best for us (more in my upcoming Semi piece on UX). 

I think the folks at inbox pro are on the right track but until we each take on the responsibility to practice thinking about the other person before ourselves, our technological structures will continue to be the medium of thoughtlessness instead of regard for a fellow human with an overloaded inbox. 

1 comment:

  1. Matt -great post. I can't wait to see the Semi piece when it comes out.


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